DIRECT MAIL MARKETING: WHY IT STILL WORKS IN A DIGITAL WORLD
In a hyper-digitized world, it seems safe to assume that direct mail will become an outdated method of marketing. If everyone is online, then it would make sense to advertise there, right? And does anyone pay attention to the advertising they receive in the mail? Or even check their mailboxes? But you know what they say about assuming things...
Case in point: “Nordstrom President Cuts Direct Mail. Then This Happened.” and “Retailer J.Jill Learned the Hard Way Why Direct Mail Is Still Relevant.”. Both of these articles from MindFire point out how a decision to eliminate direct mail led to massive profit losses for these major retailers and how integral direct mail can be to driving sales.
So why is direct mail still so effective?
Mail Volume is Declining but Direct Mail Response Rates are on the Rise
According to the USPS, total mail volume has been in decline over the last decade. With fewer pieces in mailboxes, it gives you an opportunity to stand out with less competition for attention.
Even though mail volume is declining, direct mail response rates continue to rise. According to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report (DMA membership required, fees apply), house list response rates come in at 9%—a 173% increase since 2006—and prospect lists average 5%—a 194% increase since 2006. How does this compare to other channels? Email, social media, and paid searches average a 1% response rate while display ads only average a response rate of 0.3%. While digital is great for remarketing and expanding brand awareness, direct mail excels at driving new and returning business.
Direct Mail Gets Attention
Think about how many emails you see each day. Is that number overwhelmingly high? Research shows that nearly 269 billion emails are sent around the world every day. That’s a lot of email. How about display ads? Maybe you suffer from “banner blindness” and don’t even notice these anymore as you browse the internet, but the number of ads the average user sees per day is 63. Yeah, 63. Now think about how many pieces of mail you receive in a day. I’m willing to bet that number is much, much smaller.
Direct mail naturally gets more attention as there is less of it and prospects are more likely to take the time to read your piece. Studies show that 80% of direct mail recipients scan or read each piece before throwing anything away. Engagement with physical mail is longer than it is with email and when consumers give you their full attention, there is a better chance they’ll notice your offer and take advantage of it.
Direct Mail and Digital Marketing Go Together Like PB&J
Peanut butter is great. Jelly is great. But I think most people will agree that peanut butter and jelly together make a powerhouse. The same can be said for direct mail and digital advertising. When the two are paired together, it can yield 28% higher conversion rates. An omnichannel marketing campaign that employs direct mail and digital media also sees improved response rates. Studies show campaigns that paired direct mail with digital ads saw 118% higher response rate that those that only used direct mail. The DMA also reports that direct mail can lift response rates for other channels.
By following up a direct mail piece with an email or social media post, you are strengthening your brand awareness and keeping your name top of mind. While the consumer may not have jumped on your initial offer, they have seen your logo, your brand name, and what you do, and when they want your product, they will be more likely to remember you.